No matter how grave a tragedy, the unfortunate truth of the human brain is that it gets desensitized to similar imagery and stories over time. The storyteller’s challenge then, lies in recounting the tale in a way that would still impact the viewer.
Emanuele Satolli achieves this, in his portrayal of Central American immigrants who enter Mexico illegally. Satolli spent time in Guatemala in 2007 and realised how most people he encountered were victims of immigration. “Some are saving money to go North, others are enjoying their new houses after spending a few years in the US, while many women have to take care of their families after their husbands left for the US,” he said in an article in TIME Lightbox, “I was impressed to see that immigration had such a strong [impact] on life there. And that’s why I wanted to dig deeper into this topic.”
Satolli, inspired by TIME international photo editor Alice Gabriner’s post about overcoming visual challenges, wanted to depict what he witnessed in Guatemala in a fresh way. “I was interested in the few things these immigrants bring with them on this perilous and long journey,” he said in the article.
Satolli’s still-life portraits of what Central American immigrants carry in their bags outlines the bare necessities that these people hold on to. In doing so, he paints a comprehensive and effective picture of the hardships faced by the migrants.
Born in 1979 in Italy, Emanuele Satolli started his career in photojournalism in the School of Journalism in Turin. He won the Kontinent Awards 2014 in Editorial/Documentary Projects Category and was selected for the Hannover LUMIX Festival 2014 shortlist. His work “Krokodil” Tears was part of TIME magazine’s First Place Magazine editing portfolio Poyi 2013.
“In The Bag For North” was shortlist at the Sony World Photography Awards 2015, Still Life Category. His works have appeared in Bloomberg Businessweek, Internazionale, VG Norway among others. He’s currently based in Istanbul.
In The Bag For The North is part of the exhibitions line-up for this edition of the Delhi Photo Festival starting October 30 at the IGNCA, Delhi.